LAKE PLACID - The town's list of water customers would increase by about 66 percent if it purchases Placid Lakes Utilities.
The town currently serves 2,946 water customers. Placid Lakes Utilities has 1,942 customers, according to Lake Placid Utility Director Gary Freeman.
Placid Lakes Utilities is 98 percent water service, he noted, with a small wastewater plant.
Why is the town looking to acquire the utility?
"It's like the rest of the systems we bought, to increase the number of customers that we have," Freeman said. That is the reason the town acquired other systems in recent years - the private sewer system from Highlands Utilities and the county's systems - Highway Park Utilities (water) and Placid Utilities (water and sewer) in Tomoka Heights.
The Tomoka water system covers a large area from Lake June up to Lake Francis, he said. The sewer system only serves the Tomoka Heights community.
The town is working on the Placid Lake Utilities agreement, but a deal is not imminent, according to Freeman.
"We don't even have a finished signed agreement with them or anything like that," he said. "We are looking at probably not April, but May before hopefully we have a final agreement."
It took eight years to work out an agreement with the county and almost as long, seven years, with Highlands Utilities, Freeman noted.
Freeman said if the town acquired Placid Lakes Utilities the town would not need additional employees.
The utility has its own employees, he said. "Basically it would be the same as what it is doing now. There wouldn't be any real changes that we can tell. They have a good operation going."
Also, town administration continues to work on finding a utility director to replace Freeman when he retires later this year.
Freeman, who is on the search committee, said three candidates have been interviewed and the committee has about four or five more candidates to consider.
The position is still being advertised.
Freeman said he announced that he would retire at the end of November, but he will be flexible as the town tries to fill the position.